Test System & Test Results
TweakTown uses a different method for testing CPU heatsinks which allows for an even playing field across all product tests. We feel that by using the same ambient temperature and strict lab-like testing procedures we are able to accurately compare one product to another. More information on our testing procedure can be found in the T.E.C.C. article here.
With the system running the idle testing, it really didn't matter the amount of fans voltage I used. It bottomed out as low as 46.3 degrees with 12V and only rose to 46.9°C when I crippled the fans and only supplied 5V to them. As expected, the H2O-320 Edge kit took top honours against all air coolers.
Load testing, I found very similar results. No matter what voltage I applied to the fans the H2O-320 Edge kit outperformed air cooling by a good margin, and is right where I would expect a water cooling kit to perform. With a maximum temperature of just over 50 degrees with very little airflow and just under 50 degrees with maximum airflow, I knew it was time to really abuse the loop and see what sort of gains are to be had.
With the 12V to 5V kit installed in line to power the fans, the noise level registered at a very acceptable 47 dBA. I noticed that once I used a fan controller (not included in the kit) I was able to lower the fans to an almost inaudible level once the unit was hanging from the rear of the chassis.
With all three fans pushing 81 CFM each, the 2000 RPM fans can make quite a ruckus, but to be honest, aside from the testing, I have yet to need to run the fans that high during day to day use. Don't forget! Swiftech made this kit fully customizable, so these are just the maximum and minimums that I recorded for me tests, there is a full spectrum in between for you to maximize performance and have control of the noise levels.
Typically I don't do this, but since it put such a beating on the TEC, I figured I would try to put a beating on the H2O-320 Edge. This is my system idle with the fans set as low as I could set them with the fan controller.
And here are the temps with everything in the system loaded.
Same settings on the system, just this time around I set the fans all the way up as far as the dial would allow.
Fully loaded! The extra fan speed allows for a couple of degrees drop over both the CPU and the GPU. Not that the temperatures were bad with only five volts, but to have another two degrees of love with the twist of a dial is very nice indeed.